Real-life, large-scale working examples of Web services/SOA are few and far between, so I was pleased to have the opportunity to chat with Jerry Hilt, systems analyst with Con-Way Transportation, a $2 billion distribution services company (you can see their trucks on most main highways across North America). Con-Way has been evolving an SOA infrastructure for several years now, enabling its seven separate business units to share standardized customer-facing applications.
Service technology -- from SOA to cloud to IT service management -- promises many "-ilities": greater agility, flexibility, and reusability. Joe McKendrick explores the challenges and opportunities with service orientation, and how to capitalize on these emerging computing philosophies.
Joe McKendrick is an author, consultant and speaker specializing in trends and developments shaping the technology industry.
For you standards aficionados out there -- and you know who you are -- there's another spec now out for public review. The OASIS Technical Committee that oversees development of the Web Services Distributed Management, or WSDM (pronounced "Wisdom") specification, will be accepting comments through January 10, 2005.
In a recent post, Avanade's Steve Maine parses a presentation by Microsoft's Don Box, and does a great job of explaining the essential core elements of a Web service, which he calls the Web service "kernel." The kernel in an operating system consists of the important stuff you dont need to know too much about, as Maine puts it.
In my previous post, I observed that disruptive Web services standardization will create many consolidations and mergers within the IT industry. Simultaneously, new markets are also springing up.
The most challenging aspect of service-oriented architecture is the final connection to existing applications and systems. Exposing your enterprise systems and managing the necessary linkages has been dubbed "the last mile problem" by software integration specialist David Linthicum.
Software and computing cyles are moving onparallel tracks toward a destination we call "service-oriented IT."We tend to refer to many service-focused, software advancements as "Web services," while many are now referring to on-demand, data processing services as "grid computing.
As Britton observes, Oracle's $10 billion absorption of PeopleSoft will mean more acceleration of integration efforts between various potential "killer apps" (sorry, Britton, couldn't resist) within the budding Web services and SOA space. The acquisition is also is proof of an immutable law of business: when two or more vendors begin to offer identical products or services, consolidation becomes inevitable.
PeopleSoft's agreement to be acquired by Oracle for $10.3 billion may add a bit more momentum to theservice-oriented business application arena.
In the late 1930s, economist Ronald Coase (later to win the Nobel prize) wrote an influential paper examining why firms tend to keep some activities in-house, yet rely on an open market of suppliers and partners for other things. Coase learned that "transaction costs" -- the costs associated with coordinating and collaborating with outside firms -- often were just too high.
Scott McNealy of Sun Microsystems has been talking about the concept of the "big freaking Webtone switch" for years now. (Check out this 2001 interview.